Newcastle: Magpies make contact to sign Manuel Ugarte
Newcastle United have made contact to bring Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte to the Premier League this summer, according to reports.
The Lowdown: Midfield being targeted
The Magpies were reportedly targeting a central midfield signing in January, but having failed to land Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Sheffield United’s Sander Berge following two late loan enquiries, have no choice but to start identifying potential targets for the next window.
The Uruguay international’s contract at the Estadio Jose Alvalade isn’t set to expire until 2026, but having been one of Ruben Amorim’s standout performers this season (he ranks as their fourth-best current player by WhoScored metrics), the youngster has emerged as an ideal candidate for PIF and Eddie Howe at St James’ Park.
The Latest: Newcastle make Ugarte contact
According to Portuguese outlet Record (via Sport Witness), Ugarte has ‘caught the eye’ of Newcastle, who have added him to their ‘summer menu’ ahead of a potential move to England.
The Tyneside outfit have already ‘made approaches’ to enquire about the 21-year-old’s availability, although it’s believed that Sporting have ‘made it clear’ that a deal won’t be possible.
The Primeira Liga giants are keen to offer their player fresh terms and increase his release clause from €60m (£53m) to €80m (£71m), with that likely being the amount required to successfully prise him away from Lisbon.
The Verdict: Exciting prospective signing
Ugarte has been dubbed a ‘leader’ in defensive midfield by football talent scout Jacek Kulig despite still being at such a young age, and he would be a hugely exciting signing for Newcastle.
The Montevideo native currently ranks in the 99th percentile for pass completion and tackles made per game, and also in the 98th percentile for interceptions per match (FBref). These returns mark him out as a midfielder who is adept at breaking up opposition attacks while also keeping possession ticking over nicely for his team.
Securing a place in the Champions League would likely make Newcastle a highly attractive prospect to potential transfer targets, so it’s vital that the Magpies focus their efforts on the pitch over the next four months to bolster their chances of landing Ugarte come the summer.